Fast or Feltham II

Busy weekend here!  I'm working on a couple of posts, one of which is a closer look at the 5000 calorie/day stunt by Sam Feltham as that provides a context in which to discuss some common CICO strawmen.  But a comment came across the feed reader yesterday that caught my eye with a few more thoughts in the vein of my first Fast or Feltham post. 

I'm not going to say much more about Feltham here except to say that his experiment was basically "nuts".  The majority of his calories (53%) were from walnuts, pecans and almonds, to the tune of a pound a day, containing more than the entire claimed caloric surplus, and almost the full claimed surplus in nut fat calories.  This was a stunt that demonstrated nothing other than that Feltham likely doesn't digest nuts well, and is using this to promote a rip-off of Jonathan Bailor's clogged sink scam.  But stunts like this bring the calorie deniers out of the woodwork as various folks will be like "did you see this?" and link to various other overeating stunts of years gone by.  LCHF is being sold, still, as a diet where calories don't matter, "overeating" is inane, and you can eat thousands of calories more and not gain weight.  

Only an entitled populace considers this to be a plus, please think about that.  Not only do those of the paleo bent push expensive versions of approved foods, but you'll have to eat more of them to get your nutrition!  And, you'll be needing their supplements either to convert to this way of eating and/or to deal with the nitty health issues that crop up as time goes by, that are never blamed on the obvious current diet.  It's a big selling point for those desperate to lose weight, but it's even more vapid than some of the evolutionary claims out there because it makes no sense that humans evolved to consume inefficient calories ...

Still, amid these promises, we again have the exact opposite going on in reality.  And for some reason, not only are those in need of losing weight following suit, but others as well.  I'm talking about Jimmy Moore's version of what I call NuttyK.  He may currently be fooling folks that he's spontaneously fasting 18-24 hours between fat bombs, but he is eating fewer calories as a result and that is why he has lost weight.  There is absolutely no evidence that this diet is healthier than regular Atkins or even the SAD.  The Inuit are the closest thing they have, but unless you are eating a diet of seal meat/fat in that harsh environment, you're playing a game of dietary Russian roulette here.   So for some strange reason Jimmy's wife is doing her own NuttyK experiment and so many others have followed suit.  

What we learn from the first week's report is that Christine is weight stable on roughly 1500 cal/day.  Her version of NuttyK is decidedly lower in fat (50 to 60% range) and fairly high in protein (20-40% range, varied quite a bit day to day) and higher in carb (10 to 20%).  So hopefully she'll avoid the negative consequences Neely Quinn experienced.  I note that she gained 1.4 lbs before losing it during the week ... how can that be?  

Here's the comment that caught my eye:
Rebecca Skvorc Latham  2 days ago

Hi, Jimmy and Christine! The results are very interesting, but I am surprised at the amount of protein she is eating. At 5'3", we are the same height, and I have only been eating 57g of protein to be in ketosis, and she is eating over 120g most days. This is such a small amount for me - the other day, I fixed a pork chop in the morning and ate 1/3 of it at each meal! Do you suppose that is just an example of YMMV?
As far as comparing her results to mine, when I was checking my blood ketones last summer, I always checked in the morning and never at night. In the morning, my average was 2.0 with my highest being 3.1 and my lowest 0.6. It was usually right around 1.8. Seeing her results, it makes me wonder if I had been eating a little more protein, would my numbers still have been good. In other words, would being in "less ketosis" still have been good enough, and would it be good enough now? So, possibly, I could be eating more protein than I am now. (Can you tell I want to eat more?) It's not that I am hungry. It's just that I am eating so little that I feel deprived, on an emotional and rational level
Rebecca may be familiar to some of you, and I think I've named her here once or twice before.  She's not a huge name in the community, but she was featured in The New Atkins:

As you say good-bye to Induction, move on to the next chapter to learn how to transition to Phase 2, Ongoing Weight Loss. Even if you’re moving directly to Pre-Maintenance, it’s important for you to review the content on OWL. But first, read about Rebecca Latham’s success with Atkins after trying numerous other diets.
After eating at “starvation level” for decades without being able to lose weight, Rebecca Latham decided to join her husband on the Atkins Diet. Unusually resistant to weight loss, she is finally seeing results and closing in on her goal weight.
VITAL STATISTICS Current Phase: Pre-Maintenance Daily Net Carb intake: 25 grams Age: 54 Height: 5 feet, 3 inches,  Before weight: 150 pounds, Current weight: 140 pounds, Weight loss: 10 pounds, Goal weight: 130 pounds, Former BMI: 266, Current BMI: 24.8, Current blood pressure: 120/ 80
What made you decide to do Atkins?  When my husband was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, our doctor recommended the Atkins Diet and I decided to join him. I’d started gaining weight at age 30 and over the next twenty years slowly put on 40 pounds. Did you have any relevant health issues? I have estrogen dominance and an underactive thyroid. Although there’s heart disease and diabetes in my family, my lipids and other health markers were always normal. Have you tried other weight loss programs? You name it, I’ve tried it! I’ve suffered through the South Beach Diet, NutriSystem, LA Weight Loss, the Ice Cream Diet, the Hawaiian Diet, Deal-A-Meal, the Schwarzbein Principle, the Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet, the GI Diet, the Nautilus Diet, the Pritikin Diet, Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, and Weight Watchers. My husband and I were doing The Zone just before we began Atkins. We’d both just lost a few pounds, but we were starving! Had you done Atkins before? Yes, years ago, but now I know that I was doing it incorrectly. I was eating no vegetables, and I kept cutting calories until I was down to 1,000 and then I quit. So what was different this time? I read a few Atkins books, as well as Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, which was influential in getting me to try Atkins again. I found out at that severely limiting calories would make me stop losing. I know I would have failed again without the support of the Atkins Community forums. I also now know that even though weight loss may happen slowly, lost inches also indicate success. I’ve lost almost five inches at my navel alone! How did you customize Atkins to your needs? My hormonal imbalance and hypothyroidism made it extremely difficult to lose weight. So Atkins nutritionist Colette Heimowitz gave me a modified version of Induction to follow. I started at 11 grams of Net Carbs, with 8 of them coming from foundation vegetables. Now that I’m in Pre-Maintenance, I’m at 25 grams of Net Carbs, with at least 15 of them coming from vegetables. Occasionally, I also eat nuts, berries, yogurt, applesauce, and legumes. What is your fitness regimen? I started walking and lifting weights about three weeks after starting Atkins. When I started, my muscles were wasted and I was very weak. My doctor had told me to lose 35 pounds of fat and to gain 10 pounds of muscle. When I reached 140 pounds, the 10 pounds I’d lost actually represented the loss of almost 17 pounds of fat and the gain of almost 7 pounds of muscle! (Kindle Locations 2163-2193)

That book came out early in 2010, and Rebecca didn't even lose a lot of weight, 10 lbs.  About a year later, she was all over the comments on various blogs, especially over on Stephan's blog, inquiring about her unusual situation where she claimed to eat a ton and not gain but she couldn't lose, her weight had no connection to how much she ate.  She was having a hard time maintaining her weight loss.  She even emailed me about this conundrum in August 2011 after she had bragged all over Gary Taubes blog and elsewhere about being featured in TNA.  One of Taubes' posts on the inanity of overeating  features comments from Rebecca and Dana Carpender.

So when Jimmy began his NuttyK and Rebecca followed suit.  It seems that over the years she's gone up and down the same 10-20 lbs, which isn't such a bad thing, but seriously does not need extreme interventions!  Her NuttyK got her down in the mid 130's I believe, but she regained some and from a quick read of her current posts on doing the Virgin Diet (her way), she's still in that realm.  Again, no problems there that I see other than that extreme diets should not be necessary for this and are likely causing her weight difficulties at this point.

Her comment on LLVLC says it all, I'll repeat the closing statement here.  After lamenting having to space out a single pork chop over three meals, she wrote:
It's just that I am eating so little that I feel deprived, on an emotional and rational level
Rebecca is a co-author of the Fat Fast Cookbook.  She may not be doing 1000 cal/day version, but when you are eating "fat bombs" and restricting protein at that, it really doesn't amount to a lot of food.

Offering up advice in 2007, Dana Carpender wrote:
... try the Atkins "fat fast" - 1000 calories per day, 900 of which come from pure fat, with almost no carbohydrate at all. This is a drastic diet, to be sure, and shouldn't last more than 3-5 days, but it's been known to kickstart a stalled metabolism.
A little over a year-and-a-half ago, Dana's health was deteriorating.  In that 2007 post she says she developed a slight case of underactive thyroid but otherwise her health was good.  By 2011 she was taking Lunesta for sleep disorder, still taking thyroid meds, and had been diagnosed with PCOS and ADHD and was taking metformin and Victoza.  Of course none of this could be attributed to her healthy high fat diet so she tried HCG again and fat fasting and ended up settling on every other day 1000 cal fat fasts.  What?  I am not sure if she's still doing this exact regime but Dana wrote at the time:
This both thrills and annoys me. The "thrills" part is obvious. The "annoys" part is because I did not realize when I started this experiment that I was signing on for a lifetime of limiting myself to 1000 calories, mostly of fat, every other day. If you hadn't figured it out from the career of writing cookbooks, I like food. I like cooking, I like trying new stuff, I like eating interesting and varied meals. I'm not crazy about being borderline hungry all day every other day. I also miss being able to have a little wine on those evenings. And I have yet to figure out how to work in my gelatin on Fat Fast days, since it would increase my protein, something I don't want to do on those days.
The thought of women restricting protein is pretty scary as the science is pretty clear that as we age we need more rather than less protein.  Restricting protein and carbohydrate IS a state of metabolic "starvation" no matter how many calories you eat.  None of these ladies is enjoying eating thousands of calories more, and they are all now engaging in a faddish version of full on "starvation diets".  This can only have the long term effect of lowering metabolism and loss of lean mass.   If Rebecca had troubles sticking with basic Atkins, it doesn't seem she's having much better luck sticking to a fat fast-based version.  And the third author?  Who wrote this on Gary Taubes' blog:
Amy Dungan 1 day ago in reply to norml
I just have to say that I've been living a low-carb lifestyle for 10 years. I don't feel deprived at all and could care less what "society" suggests I should eat. I'm happier and healthier than most of the people around me. Low-carb is sustainable if you want it to be and care about your health above all else. We can eat berries and melons without breaking the "diet", among many other low glycemic foods Dr. Oz didn't mention because it would make low-carb living look even better, so the argument that we are depriving ourselves of essential nutrients is pointless. As far as antioxidants go, refined carbohydrates cause oxidization. Without those in our system, antioxidants aren't quite so "essential" anymore.

She was losing slowly last time I came across her, on fairly low calorie levels.  There are more.  Many, many more.   The promise of eating more calories or food on low carb is an empty one, and the current trend of restricting not only carbs but also protein is a dangerous one.  There is NO evidence for this diet.  It does not exist.   The Inuit aren't eating 80% fat to begin with, and the fat they do eat is nothing like the dairy fat pervading the fat fast concoctions.  Ketosis is generally not compatible with menstrual regularity.  Speaking of that, I know my critics think I have no business talking about ketosis because I've never done it "properly".  Nonsense.  Firstly, Christine's menus indicate she's in ketosis, and I had experimented with various versions of LC including high fat.  I am not alone in the high fat not being something that worked for me despite peeing deep purple.   But there is nobody anywhere, no human culture, paleolithic to modern, that has eaten like this even for short periods.  The claims that it is healthy are unfounded.  Ladies, please EAT YOUR PROTEIN.  You don't have to eat high protein, but especially if you are around menopausal age or past it, you need protein.  And younger ladies?  Have your bone density checked now and keep an eye on it.  If you lose bone you will have a hard time getting it back and you won't know it until it's too late unless you are "lucky" enough to suffer a fracture.  

So I will shine a light on this in hopes that those who encounter problems realize they are not only not alone, but likely in the majority.  This is NOT about health, it is about weight loss at any cost for Mr. Moore.  He is not healthy despite his claims.  He has kidneys that are at the very least somewhat dysfunctional based on protein and crystals in his urine and the pH.  Despite a robust supplement regime, he is deficient in various minerals if his hair analysis is to be believed.  He requires berberine to regulate his blood glucose and melatonin to sleep properly.  His LDL remains out of control no matter the book he has written in which he will try yet again to convince himself otherwise.  Such books and blogs and the experts he chooses to have on his podcasts all sidestep any accountability.  There's the disclaimer.  

So while Feltham seems to be the latest version of Bailor's rehash of eat more move less and CICO is all bass ackwards, the harsh reality is that low carb dieting is an exercise in extremity these days.  Will Jimmy be able to sustain his current diet?  Who knows.  The better question is should he, but now any cautions about fat fasting are not to be found in that realm.  He has convinced his normal wife to try yet another potentially health compromising diet to what end?  I cannot say this often enough:  THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT CHRONIC KETOSIS IS HEALTHY LET ALONE SAFE.  The uber high fat diet used to treat epilepsy is a therapeutic intervention not without its negative side effects.  Adult human beings are "wired" to avoid ketosis.  

And it is just downright criminal to promote a diet based on promises of limitless calories and the impossibility of weight gain when so many of the long time low carbers are engaging in all manner of calorie restriction after all .... painting themselves in a smaller and smaller corner still.  


David Kennedy said…
Good post Evelyn. I look forward to your full analysis on Sams diet. I guess the question is do the calories in nuts need to be revaluated in your opinion? I've been reading this with interest:

Sue Staltari said…
Honestly, its ridiculous. Just eat the food and exercise.
Scott Peterson said…
I eat nuts, and then poop out nuts. Same with corn. The body ain't breaking that stuff down. If he would redo with experiment with 5000 calories of honey and butter, that would be more telling.
Myron Schwarzennecker said…
He certainly seems to be playing both ends at once, claiming that he's interested in not evaluating food calories by their bomb calorimeter figures, but at the very same time he's pushing the trendy LC diet. I doubt you'll ever see him eating tons of excess calories in the form of raw potatoes or corn and demonstrating that they dont get absorbed well.

There's also the fact that he himself never revealed the problem with absorption of nut calories, but his commenters immediately did. Either he's ignorant or he's dishonest.

He also glaringly did not measure his baseline, weight stable intake to use for the comparison. It's also mind boggling that people accept his calorie intake figures as true, with all the stuff he's selling. Only Monsanto deceives for profit, of course.

All in all, he seems like another trickster, same as Taubes, their leader and teacher on how to get fame and fortune by sleight of hand. Or Tim Ferris.
Scott Peterson said…
How can I get a picture on my profile?
Myron Schwarzennecker said…
Log into, then choose Edit Profile and then Avatar.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Doesn't it depend on how thoroughly you chew your food? If you go from chewing your food thoroughly to bolting your food down, that's going to make a big difference to kcals pooped. Was Sam's thoroughness of chewing accurately measured or controlled in his experiment? Somehow, I think not! Ctrl F with "chew" produced zero hits in Sam's article.
George Henderson said…
"Only an entitled populace considers this to be a plus, please think about that. Not only do those of the paleo bent push expensive versions of approved foods, but you'll have to eat more of them to get your nutrition! "
What about people expending calories doing exercise that doesn't need to be done?
carbsane said…
carbsane said…
See my latest post. It was a stunt.
carbsane said…
Yes chewing could vary absorption considerably.
carbsane said…
He laid his biases bare in his summary article. He claims fat is least likely to make you fat. I suggested a competing experiment will be using corn and such and 10% fat and the same calories and let's see what happens.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
I've been broaching this subject with Sam on Twitter.
carbsane said…
The more I read him from Sam, the more I think Jonathan Bailor is having his bad science ripped off.

The nut thing was rigged.
Scott Peterson said…
NUTZ = poop

Allowed through by the great enteroctyte If I can't eat it then this shit is going down!!! (to become actual shit)
Blogger said…
Gain your access to 16,000 woodworking plans.

Teds Woodworking has more than 16,000 woodworking plans with STEP BY STEP instructions, pics and diagrams to make all projects easy and simple...